Trainwreck Clones?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by thirsty one, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. thirsty one

    thirsty one Member

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    You guys with trainwrecks please educate me. I have a possible trade for Ceriatone Expression with PPIMV and Haebor(sp) transformers.

    Could one use this amp as a clean plateform to run dirt pedals in front of or is it so sweet that one would probably sell off all his dirt boxes? What is something like that worth?
     
  2. Knuckles

    Knuckles Member

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    I got a real good deal on one for $800 in a nice black tolex headbox with a koa face. I really wouldn't use it as a platform for pedals, except perhaps a booster for solos. There's not a lot of clean headroom in the design - just a lot of rock.

    ...although mine doesn't have a master volume. Perhaps you can get a bit more clean out of it by limiting the gain heading towards the output section and opening up the master.
     
  3. doctord02

    doctord02 Member

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    Yeah, the Wreck is not a clean platform for pedals - it's intended function is a lead guitar amp voiced to cut thru the mix. If you want to run effects on a Wreck, you'd be best served by running a wet-dry-wet rig and miking the Wreck and apply the effects after the mike.
     
  4. guitarsnguns04

    guitarsnguns04 Member

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    keep im mind if you want the wreck magic theres no room for a mv. If it were me i would definately want to remove it. I have played alot of wreck clones and there are some amazing ones out there. Best of luck and hopefully its a killer one.
     
  5. thirsty one

    thirsty one Member

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    I have always placed delay and modulation after dirt and used to run a stereo spread with a dry center (Boogie Mark III).

    So you don't think an Ethos, Zendrive, or Dumbell etc. would work as a Dumble tone?
     
  6. guitarman_1

    guitarman_1 Silver Supporting Member

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    No it would not work.That amp is not voiced for clean fender tones, which you need with those pedals to get into Dumble land.That is one aggresive little amp. It was a friend of mines originally.
     
  7. fusionbear

    fusionbear exquirentibus veritatem Gold Supporting Member

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    The TW circuit really does not lend itself to PPIMV due to the slamming of all the tubes being part of the magic. Dirt pedals don't really work well either. If anything, only a reactive attenuator seems to work well to tame the volume and still have the richness of the amps distortion. But, the amp's design is for loud rock and roll. It really doens't make sense to use it for other genres. Get another amp for that. Your MKIII will do well for other sounds and pedals. If you want to run effects with the clone, use a speaker driven line out like the one Suhr makes (that's what I use) and feed that into effects and a wet amp setup. Hope that helps...
     
  8. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    Glen Kuykendall here, the guy with all those Trainwreck amp videos on Youtube. I agree with the prior comments going here. The thing these amps do best is a mid to high gain singing lead tone. You don't need any other drive pedals to do this with a wreck and just about all of them won't help anyway. The amp does this very well on it's own. Yes you can get some usuable and nice clean tones IF you back your guitar down, but it may require potentiometer upgrades in the guitar to do this well. I've used wet/dry rigs with the wreck and that sounds killler. Also I agree an attenuator is much prefered over a master volume. I usually use a UA or a THD unit. That said if you are playing heavy loud rock with a strong drummer you might actually be able to run the amp unattenuated. Using low efficiency old G12M speakers I've played many gigs with my original TW cranked up AND miked up for the house sound out front in 300+ rooms. GK
     
  9. Franktone

    Franktone Member

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    Geetarpicker, how did you do your wet dry setup? Did you cover this already in another post (I might have come across it already). Does it work to mike the Trainwreck and run this mike through pedals and then into another amp?
     
  10. thirsty one

    thirsty one Member

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    That makes sense. Your saying the clipped power tubes are part of the equation with this tone. Not being persnikity(sp) here at all, but why does Nik at Ceriatone install PPIMV mods on the Expression Wreck clone?

    What would you suggest for someone on a budget? I have a Fuchs ODS. Have you ever played the Kar Krash pedal from Menatone? Does it get close to the Trainwreck tone? Wouldn't that work through the clean side of my Fuchs?

    What I'm learning from most of you guys is that my Fuchs clean side is going to be a much better foundation for any kind of dirt/drive/boost.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  11. tubetone74

    tubetone74 Member

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    Yes for 350. you can come close to the TW w/ the KK.
     
  12. fusionbear

    fusionbear exquirentibus veritatem Gold Supporting Member

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    Some guys can live with the tone of the PPIMV. I have installed these on many an amp and it works great on some, but IMO, not on a Express clone. I built my own clone with the help of the guys at the amp garage and experimented with the PPIMV, but the standard circuit sounds best to my ears. The Menatone KK comes close and is a great dirt pedal, but not the real thing, obviously. Will it work on the clean side of your ODS? I think you can come pretty close with that pedal if you crank the amp. Hope that helps...

     
  13. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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  14. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    Some like to mic the amp though a small mixer, mix the rack mount effects in 100% wet, and use a power amp and finally a full range PA type speaker of PA monitor for the final wet sound. The is the way EJ does it.

    However I've done it another way which is much simpler. I run the amp straight to the dry cab, or possibly into an attenuator and then to the dry cab. Then I take the 2nd speaker jack off the amp and run it though a small attenuation circuit to bring the speaker level down to line level. I use a 47k resistor in series terminated at a 1k in parallel to ground. Then take the signal off the top and bottom of the 1k, though in some cases I've had to lift the ground off the 1k if the rack device was grounded though the rack or otherwise because of ground loop hum. The 47k resistor can be tweaked +or- to dail in the line level send if need be. I Run this line level signal to the line level effects unit, like a Lexicon or Yamaha etc. Then a small power amp and finally a guitar cabinet. The only difference in this setup is the effects unit sees a direct signal off the amp which has alot more high end content and some reverbs can get a little splashy but you can usually tweak the preset to make it work fine. This wet signal then gets rolled off by using a standard guitar speaker cab for the final wet signal for a natural guitar EQ. In a live situation you mic both cabs, and I've even used a Y cord on the mics if the soundman only had one channel allocated for guitar. This also keeps the soundman from running too much of either if you would rather he get a totally blended signal. This also eliminates any need for a speaker emulation device, or full range PA speaker/monitor.

    This can also be done with floor pedals by tweaking the 47k resistor typically up to get the levels down to guitar pedal level, however with many effects in a wet/dry rig you typically want to be able to mute the effects and get total silence on the wet side. Guitar pedals typically don't mute they let the straight signal though when muted. This doesn't work well in a wet/dry rig. However I once did a wet/dry setup with a couple Boss DD5 delays which I modded to not allow a dry signal when muted. That all said, many rack mount processors allow you to mute the input when you bypass the effect which works well. Then when you mute a delay for example the delays trail off naturally.
    The one issue with rack mount devices however is some have quite a bit of lag time between preset changes. I used to use a Yamaha SPX900 which sounded great, but if you swapped presets via a midi controller there was a second or so of muted signal when you changed patches. More recently I've used a setup with two Lexicon MX300s and instead of doing any preset changing I simply used the footswitch jacks to mute each effect which nicely had NO lag time to it. Each MX300 could be setup as two mono processors, so with two of them I could setup up to 4 parallel wet effects and kick them in and out with no lag time and hardly ever actually change presets at all.

    I've yet to hear any pedals that I thought emulated a Trainwreck amp very well.

    To me the most magical thing about the Trainwreck is it's abilty to clean up very well from the guitar, even if set with the gain totally cranked. To me a Trainwreck amp has the clean to scream response of a really good vintage germanium fuzz face, but with a tonal range and EQ that is much more usuable. In some ways I think the Trainwreck lead tone can be somewhat emulated by other amps and such, but it's the control from the guitar that is very difficult to replicate with other rigs. I think a big part of the clean to scream usuability of a Trainwreck is in part due to quite a bit of power supply sag, plus output tube and OT saturation when you crank the guitar up. This keeps the distortion sound from getting much louder than when you back way off for clean. This is the part that you just don't get when you use a master as the output stage and power supply are not a liquid part of the equation, and is IMHO why a master on a wreck is a waste of time and wishful thinking at best. On a related note the Trainwreck circuit also is good at retaining clear highs when you back the guitar off, so not only does the amp clean up well the EQ of the guitar typically doesn't go muddy like many amps and pedals do when you back the guitar down. Specifically I've noticed many clones don't clean up as well as others, and some do it quite poorly. It's all in the details of how the clone was built and with what components.

    GK
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  15. Franktone

    Franktone Member

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    Geetarpicker, your article is much appreciated. Thanks.
     
  16. Eric Dahlberg

    Eric Dahlberg Member

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    I've got a Ceriatone Express with the PPIMV. The amp is ridiculously loud so the PPIMV helps, though I'll probably pull it out eventually just to see how much it affects the tone. Also, the chassis bent in from the weight of the transformers so I need replace it with something heavier duty. Does anyone know where to find a pre-punched Trainwreck-clone chassis?

    btw, the closest I've gotten to a real Trainwreck was a silver face Fender Deluxe Reverb that Ken had modded. The Ceriatone sounds better than that did, though it has the same "problem" of overdriving too fast and venturing into squared-off-fuzz-land at the upper 1/3 of the input gain range. The sad thing is the amp can have a nice clean sound that reminds me of my '63 Deluxe but there's no in between tones because it transitions into heavy saturation almost immediately. The input gain pot is already audio taper, can anyone recommend any other mod that might tame the amp down a bit? The amp is also quite noisy, is there a solution to that?
     
  17. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    My original Trainwreck Express starts to breakup at about 1/4 on the volume knob and goes from there. To get a clean tone you just about have to turn the guitar down. I doubt the master in your amp hurts the tone when it is cranked up, however it probably won't get you the best response from the amp but it's better than nothing I guess. A change of the volume pot in the amp won't change much other than where the knobs sits. Still, you may be able to more easily find a clean tone by swapping the pots in the guitar. I find many 250k pots in modern Fenders work fine with a Wreck, but the 500ks in Gibsons with humbuckers (even moderate output PAFs) are tricky. I have found NO modern 500k pot that comes on as smoothly as the ones Gibson used in the old days (50s - early 60s) however some of the aftermarket 500ks these days are somewhat better. Having a pot that comes on slowly is key to getting the Trainwreck amp to clean up IMHO.

    Lots of folks complain about Wrecks being too noisy, hmmmm. I actually find mine to be less noisy than other amps that specifically have similar gain. For example if I totally dime my 1987 circuit Marshall 50 it's actually noisier than my Trainwreck Express when all of it's knobs are set on 1/2, but the Marshall actually has less gain. You would think the Marshall would actually be quieter, but no. I find the Trainwreck doesn't have any more noise than most similar gain amps, and in most cases less. The deal though is it's obviously a high gain amp, and cannot be switched to lower gain like most higher gain amps as it is stuck cranked. Some noise in an Express is to be expected as it is a high gain amp, and it will never be blackface fender quiet as it has more gain stages. You can try lower gain tubes like 12AY7s, but the sound and gain will be quite different but it will be quieter.

    Also I've played a few clones that were way louder than my original Wreck. I have a friend with a Ceriatone with stock transformers and his amp is louder with 6V6s than my original is with EL34s! Keep in mind if you have a louder amp than typical for these, it will also be a little noisier too.

    Still the component choices used in a clone (resistors, caps, etc.) can have an effect on noise, and even the placement of the wires (lead dress) makes a big difference in these amps in the tone and S/N ratio department. Last but not least, the tubes used can make or break the entire deal...
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  18. Knuckles

    Knuckles Member

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    Not to be a dick, but I think a lot of people are missing the point of Trainwreck by installing Master Volumes and trying to coax more clean headroom out of their clones.
    They're supposed to be that way. Loud, gainy, near out-of-control output tube overdrive. Trying to get 'dumble" tones out of them is like trying to get vintage Larry Carlton sounds out of a Dual Recto head. Won't happen.
     
  19. Eric Dahlberg

    Eric Dahlberg Member

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    Yeah, I get what you're saying, it's just that a really good clean tone is there, too, and it'd be nice to coax more of that out. I've played the Fuchs and it didn't sound as out of control as this Ceriatone.
     
  20. fusionbear

    fusionbear exquirentibus veritatem Gold Supporting Member

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    What is beautiful about a TW or great clone is that the clean tone you can get out of them is so full of bloom and harmonic richness. But, as Glenn states, you need good potentiometers in your guitar.
     
    psyclist likes this.

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